Opa-locka Executive Airport
|Opa-locka Executive Airport|
|IATA: OPF – ICAO: KOPF – FAA LID: OPF|
|Operator||Miami-Dade Aviation Department (MDAD)|
|Location||Dade County, Florida|
|Elevation AMSL||8 ft / 2 m|
|Source: Federal Aviation Administration|
Opa-locka Executive Airport (IATA: OPF, ICAO: KOPF, FAA LID: OPF) is a public airport in Miami-Dade County, Florida, United States. It is 11 miles north of downtown Miami. Part of the airport is within the city proper of Opa-locka. Formerly known as Opa-locka Airport, it is in the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2011–2015, which called it a general aviation reliever airport.
The tenant military activity is Coast Guard Air Station Miami, operating HU-25 Guardians, the HC-144 Ocean Sentry turboprops and HH-65 Dolphin helicopters for coastal patrol and air-sea rescue. Much of CGAS Miami's facilities were built during World War II as part of the Naval Air Station Miami.
The airport is served by several cargo and charter airlines who use the U.S. customs facility. Maintenance and modification of airliners up to Boeing 747 size are carried out by several aviation firms.
Aviation pioneer Glenn Curtiss retired from aircraft development and manufacturing in the 1920s and became a real estate developer in Florida. In 1926, he founded the City of Opa-locka, naming it Opa-tisha-woka-locka (quickly shortened to Opa-locka), a Native American name that translates into the high land north of the little river on which there is a camping place.
In late 1925 he moved the Florida Aviation Camp from Hialeah to a parcel west of the city. This small airfield was surrounded by the Opa-locka Golf Course. In 1929, he transferred this land to the City of Miami, and the city erected on it a World War I surplus hangar from Key West. This field became known as the Municipal Blimp Hangar. The following year, the Goodyear Blimp started operations out of this hangar.
In 1928 Curtiss made a separate donation of land south of Opa-locka for Miami's first Municipal Airport. The Curtiss Aviation School later moved from Biscayne Bay to this airport. A larger area to the east of Miami Municipal Airport was developed during the 1930s as All-American Airport. After Curtiss died in 1930, his estate transferred a parcel of land north of the golf course and the Florida Aviation Camp to the city of Miami. The city then leased it to the United States Navy. Curtiss had been lobbying for the establishment of the Naval Reserve Base in Miami since 1928. This property became a Naval Reserve Aviation Training Base (NRATB).
In 1932 the U.S. Navy leased from the city of Miami what is today the west half of Opa-locka airport. On this land the Navy erected a dirigible mooring mast. The dirigible USS Akron stopped at this mast on both legs of its 1933 trip to the Panama Canal Zone, and departed the station less than two weeks before its fatal crash in April 1933. The base was one of the stops on the triangular Germany-Brazil-United States-Germany route of the Graf Zeppelin.
Amelia Earhart made her second attempt to circumnavigate the globe in 1937. The unpublicized flight began in Oakland, California and from there, Earhart flew to Miami, Florida, landing there on May 23, 1937.  But a miscalculation by navigator Fred Noonan had Earhart land her Lockheed Electra at the wrong airport. She first landed at Eastern Air Lines 36th Street Airport, which was closed with no one in the control tower. Earhart took off once again and six minutes later landed at the Miami Municipal Airport (now Opa-Locka Executive Airport). She stayed in Miami for a week or so studying her flight path. Miami was the last place of the continental U.S. that she visited before heading on to the rest of her ill-fated journey. The pair departed Miami on July 1 headed to Puerto Rico, the next immediate stop after Miami.
The All-American Airport was acquired by the City of Miami around 1938 and on this land the city of Miami built the first "Miami International (Master) Airport".
Major expansion of the base began in 1939, and it was commissioned as Naval Air Station Miami (NAS Miami) in 1940.
The Naval Reserve Air Base, the Municipal Blimp Hangar, the U.S. Navy's Dirigible Mooring Mast, the city of Miami's Municipal Airport and the All-American Airport existed as separate facilities until their land became incorporated into NAS Miami.
Miami Municipal Airport and Miami International (Master) Airport were purchased from the city by the federal government in 1942 and added to Naval Air Station Miami (NAS Miami) as Miami Municipal Field and Master Field (later referred to colloquially as "Masters Field"), respectively. Miami Municipal Field was connected to Masters Field by a taxiway that crossed the railroad tracks which separated the two fields. Miami Municipal Field was renamed Amelia Earhart Field in 1947. The All-American Air Races were held at Miami Municipal/Amelia Earhart Field or All-American Airport/Miami International (Master) Airport from 1929 until 1935, and the All-American Air Maneuvers from 1935 until 1941 and from 1946 to 1950.
During World War II, NAS Miami was headquarters for operations of the U.S. Naval Air Training Command, with six training bases. NAS Miami consisted of the original training base, known as Mainside or Opa-Locka, Miami Municipal Field and Master Field. At its peak, the base employed 7,200 officers and men and 3,100 civilians. Activity continued on a reduced basis after the war.
Following the departure of U.S. Navy, but retention of U.S. Marine Corps Reserve flying and aviation support units, Master Field became Marine Corps Air Station Miami (MCAS Miami) circa 1955. With the transfer of Marine Air Reserve squadrons and support units to NAS Jacksonville, Florida in 1958 and 1959, MCAS Miami was marked for closure and the air station closed as a Department of the Navy installation in 1959. Former military property was transferred to Dade County and the Dade County Junior College opened on the site in 1961.
In 1962 the remainder of the former NAS Miami property, except for a portion reserved for the United States Coast Guard, was transferred to Dade County, and became Opa-locka Airport. In 1965 Coast Guard Air Station Miami transferred its aircraft and operations from its Dinner Key installation to the Opa-locka Airport, re-establishing CGAS Miami on site. CGAS Miami continues to operate on site with HU-25 Guardian and HC-144 Ocean Sentry fixed-wing aircraft and HH-65 Dolphin helicopters.
For the year 1963 Opa-locka was the 42nd busiest civil airport in the country by total operations count. In 1964 it was #18, in 1965 #3, and in 1966 and 1967 it was #2 behind O'Hare. In 1971, it was down to #17. In 1979 551,873 operations were recorded; the seventh busiest airport in the nation.
Facilities and aircraft
Opa-locka Executive Airport covers 1,880 acres (761 ha) at an elevation of 8 feet (2 m) above mean sea level. It has three asphalt runways: 9L/27R is 8,002 by 150 feet (2,439 x 46 m); 9R/27L is 4,309 by 100 feet (1,313 x 30 m); 12/30 is 6,800 by 150 feet (2,073 x 46 m).
In the year ending May 18, 2010 the airport had 120,749 operations, average 330 per day: 90% general aviation, 6% military, 3% air taxi, and <1% scheduled commercial. 287 aircraft were then based at this airport: 42% single-engine, 25% multi-engine, 24% jet, 5% helicopter, and 3% military.
- In 1970 Douglas C-49K N12978 of Air Carrier was damaged beyond economic repair when it caught fire.
- On January 21, 1982 Douglas DC-3A N211TA of Tursair, after departing from Opa-locka Airport, was destroyed in an accident at the Opa-locka West Airport (X46). The aircraft was on a training flight and the trainee pilot mishandled the engine controls, causing a temporary loss of power. The aircraft ran off the runway and collided with a tree. Inadequate supervision and the failure of the student pilot to relinquish control of the aircraft to the instructor were cited as contributing to the accident.
- On May 2, 2011, a Beech E18S (N18R) crashed shortly after takeoff from OPF. The pilot was the only person on board and died in the crash. The NTSB report cited maintenance failures as contributing to the loss of power accident. The aircraft crashed into a home. Besides the death of the pilot, there were no other injuries.
- FAA Airport Master Record for OPF ( PDF). Federal Aviation Administration. Effective November 15, 2012.
- "Opa-locka Executive Airport". Miami-Dade Aviation Department. Retrieved August 3, 2013.
- "Opa-locka Executive Airport" (PDF). Florida Department of Transportation CFASPP. Retrieved August 3, 2013.
- "IATA Airport Code Search (OPF: Opa Locka)". International Air Transport Association. Retrieved August 3, 2013.
- "Opa-locka city, Florida". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved January 9, 2010.
- "OPF – Opa-locka Airport". FAA data republished by AirNav. Effective April 10, 2008. Archived from the original on June 3, 2008.
- "2011–2015 NPIAS Report, Appendix A" (PDF, 2.03 MB). National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems. Federal Aviation Administration. October 4, 2010.
- "Opa-locka Airport: Facilities". Miami-Dade Aviation Department. Archived from the original on March 17, 2006. Retrieved April 8, 2006.
- "Air Station Miami welcomes the Ocean Sentry". Coast Guard Compass. U.S. Coast Guard. October 13, 2010.
- Miller, Alicia Momsen. "From Rio to Akron aboard the Graf Zeppelin, 1933". Retrieved April 8, 2006.
- "The History of Aviation in Florida, Part Two: 1920-1941". PCR #192 (Vol. 4, No. 48). November 24, 2003. Retrieved August 16, 2006.
- "Florida - Northern Miami Area: All American Field / Master Airport". Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields. Retrieved August 16, 2006.
- "NAS Miami Opa-Locka Airport". Florida's World War II Memorial. Archived from the original on April 26, 2006. Retrieved August 16, 2006.
- "All The World's Air Races". Society of Air Racing Historians. August 4, 2003. Retrieved August 16, 2006.
- History of Marine fighter squadron stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Miami - URL retrieved April 8, 2006
- Context of 'December 29-31, 2000: Atta and Alshehhi Train on Flight Simulator; Uncertainty over Whether They Gain Skills Needed for 9/11 Attacks'
- "Airport Fire Rescue Division". Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department. Miami-Dade County. Retrieved August 30, 2006.[dead link]
- "Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Stations". Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department. Miami-Dade County. Retrieved August 30, 2006.[dead link]
- "N12978 Hull-loss description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved October 20, 2010.
- "N211TA Accident Report, ID: MIA82FA037". National Transportation Safety Board. Retrieved August 17, 2013.
- "One Dead After Plane Crashes in Neighborhood Near Opa-locka Airport". Miami New Times. May 2, 2011. Retrieved August 21, 2012.
- "ERA11FA274". NTSB. June 28, 2012. Retrieved August 21, 2012.
- Opa-locka Executive Airport, official site
- PDF brochure from CFASPP
- Aerial image as of February 1999 from USGS The National Map
- (PDF), effective December 12, 2013
- FAA Terminal Procedures for OPF, effective December 12, 2013
- Resources for this airport: